Over the past year, we’ve had the honor of working with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on specific events focusing on increasing active participation of people of color and women, among other populations, in the tech industry/economy. We were present last week when the White House recognized 11 Champions of Change for Tech Inclusion, citizens from across the nation who are “doing extraordinary things to expand technology opportunities for young learners.” This prize cohort includes two Bay Area engineers, Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE, and Carlos Bueno, a Facebook developer and children’s storybook author. Congratulations!
The Kapor Center conducted two events in conjunction with the White House recognition this past Wednesday. At the beginning of the day, we hosted a strategy session/focus group with the 11 champs, soliciting their insight on how to build a national tech inclusion movement – both increasing pathways for youth into tech as well as heightening awareness of the critical need for diverse tech workforces and entrepreneurship.
While we’re still sorting and processing what we learned, suffice it to say that the Champs weren’t shy about sharing root causes of the current lack of tech inclusion, strategies for increasing access, and key players already working in communities. We hope to share some of the learnings by mid-August here on our blog.
OSTP also organized a series of concurrent workshops for a broader set of attendees, including “Transforming Computing in U.S. High Schools,” “STEM Mentoring and the US2020 Movement,” “Girls in Tech,” and “Historically Black Colleges and Universities Start Up Initiative.” These preceeded the main event, which kicked off in front of a full house (~175 attendees) with an enthusiastic greeting by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. Baratunde Thurston, Hashtagger-in-Chief and skilled moderator, conversed with the Champs, who were organized into two panels (see the video here).
At the conclusion of the recognition event, the Kapor Center paired with Facebook to host a reception honoring the Champs and re-committing to diversifying tech through our respective and collective work.
Many thanks to the great folks at OSTP (namely the unflappable Katie Dowd) and Facebook for their collaboration and partnership on this fantastic day chock full o’ideas. Now we’re working to turn those ideas into action. Stay tuned!